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April 5, 2008

EIA uncovers buried £5 billion live marketing spend in Bellwether report

The advertising industry hailed last months’ latest Bellwether report, which recorded the strongest upturn in UK marketing spend for the past three years, which comes as a welcome relief for a struggling sector.

Internet marketing budgets, accounting for around £2 billion of marketing spend a year, out performed all other sectors, and its 5% slice was highlighted once again. However, it seems strange then that a whooping 23% is allowed to wallow in an actuary’s no man’s land under the catch-all ‘All Other’ – that equates to around £9 billion. Aren’t advertisers interested to know more about nearly a quarter of their pie? Or are they scared?


A bigger slice of the pie: the missing 23%


Digging deeper into this ‘significant other’, the Events Industry Alliance (EIA) claims to have discovered that it comprises tick-box only entries for such staples as PR, event sponsorship, conferences, exhibitions, corporate hospitality and entertainment, newsletters/other corporate literature, product sampling, competitions, mobile phone (including SMS, but not Mobile TV) and anything else that is not classified elsewhere.

The EIA claims that five of these nine subjects fall into the live marketing remit, giving a spend on ‘event marketing’ of more than £5 billion a year.

Commenting on this figure, Trevor Foley, chief executive of the EIA, said: “We have been tracking these reports each quarter, and we’re amazed that such a large ‘other’ amount seems to be swept under the carpet each time. Other recent independent research by JMA Research found that 61% of UK marketers planned to allocate more budget to events in the next 12 months, so we know what’s happening. You only have to look at Channel 4’s investment last year in Taste Events, a high-profile programme of food and drink festivals, and O2’s all-embracing sponsorship of its O2 Wireless Festival in Hyde Park, as well as its re-branding of the old Dome in the summer, to see that money is moving into live events.

“Sir Martin Sorrell, chief executive of WPP, commenting on April’s Bellwether, said it ‘reflected what WPP is seeing in the UK – a recovery against, admittedly, weak comparables, with the spending increase being dominated by expansion in direct, internet and interactive media'. Come on Bellwether, let’s have some detail on the most interactive of all media, live event marketing. EIA has offered to help IPA in this regard. We hope that as IPA's members regularly claim to be media neutral, their trade body will have the courage to look beyond the 'A' in IPA and show members where their clients are really spending their money in today's modern marketing world.”

Related article

EIA A YEAR ON: What’s the events body achieved and where’s it going?
Trevor Foley on why the events industry needs another association and finds that Foley’s got all the answers – from why more and more companies are turning towards live marketing to key statistics revealing an industry on the rise.

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